Two new tyre technology concepts for greater safety and comfort
ContiSense: Uses tyre sensors to measure tread depth and temperature and alerts drivers to tyre damage – data transmission via electrically conductive rubber
ContiAdapt: Adjusts tyre pressure and rim width to adapt contact patch to road conditions
Continental is introducing two new tyre technology concepts to make for even greater road safety and comfort in the future. The two systems enable continuous monitoring of the condition of the tyres, as well as situation-matched adaptation of tyre performance characteristics to the prevailing road conditions. Accompanied by a tyre study, the technologies, called ContiSense and ContiAdapt, made their public debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA).
ContiSense is based on the development of electrically conductive rubber compounds that enable electric signals to be sent from a sensor in the tyre to a receiver in the car. Rubber-based sensors continuously monitor both tread depth and tyre temperature. If the measured values are above or below predefined limits, the system at once alerts the driver. If anything penetrates the tread, it closes a circuit in the tyre, also triggering an immediate warning for the driver – faster than the systems used to date, which only issue a warning when the tyre pressure has already begun to drop. In the future, the ContiSense system will feature additional sensors that can also be utilized separately. In this way, information about the road surface, such as the temperature or the presence of snow will be “sensed” by the tyre and communicated to the driver. Data can be transmitted to the vehicle electronics or via bluetooth to a smartphone.
ContiAdapt combines micro-compressors integrated into the wheel to adjust the tyre pressure with a variable-width rim. The system can thus modify the size of the contact patch which under different road conditions is a decisive factor for both safety and comfort. Four different combinations allow perfect adaptation to wet, uneven, slippery and normal conditions. For example, a smaller contact patch combined with high tyre pressure make for low rolling resistance and energy-efficient driving on smooth, dry roads. By contrast, the combination of a larger contact patch with lower tyre pressure delivers ideal grip on slippery roads. The system also permits very low tyre pressures of below 1 bar to be set, to help ease the vehicle out of a parking space in deep snow, for example, or traverse a dangerous stretch of black ice.
ContiSense and ContiAdapt are joined by a concept tyre that enables the benefits of both systems to be fully leveraged. The tyre design features three different tread zones for driving on wet, slippery or dry surfaces. Depending on the tyre pressure and rim width, different tread zones are activated and the concept tyre adopts the required “footprint” in each case. In this way, the tyre characteristics adapt to the prevailing road conditions or driver preferences.
Continental sees both these tyre technology concepts as promising solutions for the mobility of the future, as tyres are adapted to meet the needs of automated driving and electrification. Low rolling resistance, for example, makes it possible for electric cars to cover greater distances on a single charge. At the same time, the tyres can be adapted to suit the driver’s personal preferences or in response to sudden changes in the weather. These concepts are the logical next step in the future-oriented development of the REDI sensor, brought to market by Continental in 2014, which was instrumental in establishing smart communication between vehicle and tyre. The new tyre technology concepts follow on from the two established mobility technologies: ContiSeal, for the automatic sealing of punctures, and ContiSilent, for a tangible reduction in tyre/road noise. Able to draw on more than a century of experience in tyre technology and with in-house expertise in the fields of vehicle electronics and automotive IT, Continental is systematically aligning its products with the future requirements of autonomous driving and electric mobility.
Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and networked mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transport. In 2017, Continental generated sales of approximately €44 billion and currently employs more than 238,000 people in 61 countries.
The Tyre Division currently has 24 production and development locations worldwide. The broad product range and continuous investments in R&D make a major contribution to cost-effective and ecologically efficient mobility. As one of the world's leading tyre manufacturers with around 54,000 employees, the Tyre Division achieved sales of €11.3 billion in 2017.
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